Gig Review: Flynn Effect + Therapist + Archetypes + Muules @ The Back Room, Brisbane

Headliner: Flynn Effect

Supports: Therapist + Archetypes + Muules

Review by: Sam Wolstenholme

Photos by: Brandon Shields Photography

Brisbane alternative metal powerhouse Flynn Effect have never been a band to rest on their laurels. Now veterans of the Brisbane heavy music scene, in the five years since they were founded the dynamic four-piece have released two albums, tour nationally and supported huge international metal acts such as Lacuna Coil, Wednesday 13 and most recently, the mighty Seether. Tonight, Brisbane’s faithful alt and prog metal contingent congregate at The Back Room for the Brisbane leg of Flynn Effect’s current national tour to promote the recent release of their new EP Monuments. While it is a staple Brisbane venue for metal gigs, The Back Room does not usually play host to lineups that are more on the prog side, so this show promises to be a pleasant change of pace.

Sunshine Coast rockers Muules promptly take the stage to get the party started, and they launch right into an engaging and energetic set. The three-piece signed on at the last minute to play the opening set for this gig, but there is no hint of lack of preparation in their confident and professional performance. Effecting a very 90's Soundgarden grunge-rock sound, Muules hold their own despite the absence of a guitarist and their songs are short, sharp and sweet throughout their tight set.

As Therapist start to move on stage, what was a fairly modest crowd to begin with suddenly explodes, with a horde of dedicated fans filling out the crowd area near the stage. Therapist are a fairly recent addition to the Brisbane heavy scene, but the utter professionalism and precision of their performance would suggest otherwise. Maintaining great audience engagement from the get go, Therapist power through a dynamic, groovy set that showcases the creativity and diversity of their songwriting that is flavoured by strong Tool, Rush and even Red Hot Chili Peppers influences. There are excellent technical skills on display, particularly through the excellent florid fills from the drummer and the tasteful lead guitar harmony passages. Therapist have really stepped things up a notch or three, and they pave the way very nicely for Archetypes, who are next up.

Archetypes are a very natural fit for this lineup tonight. With a well warmed-up crowd awaiting them, the five-piece waste no time in launching into a solid and seamless performance of their very unique brand of Dream Theater prog meets Porcupine Tree subdued alt-rock. I have to note that Archetypes have the best live mix so far, with a tight rhythm section chugging away on melodic yet groovy riffs providing an effective backdrop to the soaring tenor vocals that are clear as a bell. This is another band that takes a diverse approach to songwriting, showcasing a signature unpredictability through frequent and abrupt changes of pace that contrast with strong and solid breakdown sections that get the whole band, and the crowd, moving.

Before long, it is time for headliners Flynn Effect to command the stage and show us what they’ve got. And do they bring their A-game! After an atmospheric intro, complete with smoke machines to build the tension, the fabulous four-piece kicks their set off with new single “Believer”, which immediately captures the audience’s attention. This band is cohesive and self-assured in their live performances; every member plays with precision, working together like a well-oiled machine. Flynn Effect’s signature female-fronted alt-rock sound, with its curious symphonic and even industrial flavours, has always stood out as being refreshingly unique yet accessible, and tonight they perform this music with an easy yet commanding confidence. The band takes us through a comprehensive catalogue of their hit tracks, with second album single All for Love, Give In To Me and their popular cover of “Talk” by Coldplay being particular highlights.

The impeccably timed lighting show and smoke effects, combined with vocalist Tomina’s imposing stage presence, effects a static intensity that Flynn Effect are able to maintain throughout the set even during more energetic and dynamic numbers. At the fervent request of the enthralled crowd, Flynn Effect provides a welcome rendition of their single “Fade” as an encore, rounding off an excellent performance before they head off to Melbourne for the last show of a highly successful tour.

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